"ALL of my clothes must go!" shouted my heart, as I flung clothes like acrobats through the air. For most people, their clothes are resting comfortably in a closet. For me, my clothes were staring me straight in the face every time I packed up my life into my little white car. It has been seven months since I hit the road initiating eco-communities around the Western United States. I'd given away a lot of my clothes after making the decision to leave Los Angeles, but after several months it didn't make sense to keep my Fendi heels to wear in a rugged Maui jungle. I had been a classic female adorer of clothes all my life and now some adjustments had to be made to fit my new lifestyle.
Many of us are becoming more aware of ourselves and the world around us. For me, once I discover one eco-solution, it always leads to something else. We can see this culturally with people shifting to local, organic, non-GMO produce, recycling, installing solar panels on their roofs and with the availability of affordable electric cars in the market! One of the segments I learned about on my new venture was clothing!
Most of us are aware and many of us are very particular about pesticides in our food or the chemicals leaching from plastic water bottles. Another thing to consider is the incompatibility of synthetic clothes next to our skin! According to Brian R. Clement, author of Killer Clothes, "Human-made petrochemical fibers restrict and suffocate the skin, our largest and most sensitive body organ, making it unable to breath properly so it can release toxins.... it's estimated that we release a pound of toxins through our skin every day." Here are some organic fabrics that are more naturally aligned with our bodies.
1. Natural Fabrics
There are many natural fibers out there today including linen, wool, silk, angora, cashmere, etc. I'm going to focus on the most sustainable, affordable, stylish, plant-based fabrics that are readily available solutions for mainstream buyers.
Bamboo is the fastest growing grass on Earth, and doesn't require replanting after harvest or pesticides to grow. Bamboo fabric is known for being uber soft and keeps you three degrees cooler than cotton! It's 100 percent biodegradable, incredibly breathable, anti-bacterial/anti-fungal which makes it more odor resistant and has many other positive qualities.
Hemp is one of the most ecologically friendly fabrics on Earth! It's extremely durable, long lasting, insulating, breathable, biodegradable and very absorbent. Hemp is low in lignin, needing few chemicals for processing and making it more absorbent to dyes. Hemp products and clothing are legal to buy and are primarily from China where the plant has been naturally cultivated for thousands of years.
Organic Cotton is a versatile fiber that is breathable, durable and highly absorbent which is why it's so extensively used around the world! Organically grown and manufactured cotton is an unconventional "art form" of sorts with only approximately 10,000 acres in the U.S. dedicated to organic cotton.
Recycle: In my research, discovering over 40 sustainable brands, I found a common trend in using recycled synthetic materials mixed with the organic fibers. The creativity of using no-bleach recycled plastic, recycled rayon, denim and other fabrics is very impressive. The production of new clothes takes a lot of energy and resources so recycling old materials and re-using clothes by thrifting or trading amongst friends is a great sustainable option!
2. Establish Who You Are
Once I made the decision about the amount of clothes I truthfully needed for my new venture, a formula was necessary to choose what to give away and what to buy next. Without set values (priorities) that you live by, most decisions are made unconsciously, motivated by cultural programming, so by bringing awareness to my values I found I could be in greater alignment with my natural self.
These are the top values I live by (to the best of my ability):
- Sustainability (holistic for the good of the collective and of Mother Earth).
- Doing More with Less: If you can learn to do more with less, you'll be able to do less and get more.
One of the big things I realized, lugging my closet around, is that most of what I had in my closet, I didn't need for my new on-the-go lifestyle. In rebuilding my wardrobe, I would need enough for about a 10-day rotation... My journeys take me from hot Maui to mountain winters so I needed year-round clothes.
3. Cutting-Edge Companies
The great thing about the eco-clothing on the market is that most of the brands are natural, fashionable, affordable and super comfortable. They're ahead of their time, trailblazing this new eco-frontier. Over the past few weeks I've given away my wardrobe and rebuilt an entirely new natural and sustainable closet.
There are many brands to explore so feel free to dive in. GGO Organics uses organic bamboo milled and created in Los Angeles. They source their material from a free-trade group in Vietnam and use Oeko-Tex certified eco-dyes and processing. Their clothing variety, from super stylish to super cute exercise get-ups (for men and women), is killer and the fabrics are very high quality! The Hempest uses organic hemp manufactured in China. They're very conscious and transparent about the positive working environment in their factories there! They make hard-to-find eco products such as hiking boots, winter coats, sweaters and everything else you need for a year-round wardrobe. Groceries Apparel, with their interesting city-casual style, uses organic cotton and recycled fabrics all manufactured in Los Angeles and locally sourced. My recommendation is to have fun exploring these new fabrics and eco solutions as a green addition to your wardrobe!